While I write to you in this month of June, Magdala continues to move forward with a number of new developments, including meetings with members of various departments and the team responsible for the hotel opening.
I don’t have enough words to thank all those involved: professionals, volunteers, friends and benefactors. None of this would have been possible if not for the generosity and commitment of all. From a realistic standpoint, I have to confess that next year we will be able to open half of the hotel, that means, a wing of 67 rooms, together with the common premises like the lobby, the restaurant, etc.
In the images that we send you with this newsletter you will see the advances, which are noticeable day by day. But we still have two formal issues to resolve, and we will have to wait a few weeks to know the outcome of our efforts. They are, fundamentally, the possibility of opening only one part of the hotel, and being able to continue building the other part. This requires authorization from the local authorities and we are now in full negotiations. I ask for your prayers.
Last month I had the opportunity to witness the inauguration of the Exhibition on the Menorah in the Vatican. It is the first time that the Magdala Stone departed Israel, and directly to The Vatican!!! It seems like a dream come true. Allow me a particular memory: in September 2009 people from the Israel Antiquities Authority went to see the recently discovered Synagogue of Magdala. After an intense conversation, the then general director, Mr. Shuka Dorfman (RIP), set me aside and told me: “Father, it would be lovely if this stone was displayed in the Vatican.” I must confess that at that time I had difficulty understanding the deep meaning of that desire. I contacted the directors of the Vatican Museums and we conducted some conversations on the subject, but it seemed that it was not the right time then.
A few months ago I was informed that the Magdala Stone would travel to the Vatican for an exhibition on the Menorah and I could not believe it! The Magdala Project follows a journey guided by the Providence of God.
In the meantime, I wish you a great summer vacation to those in the Northern Hemisphere, and I thank everyone for your continued support of friendship, prayers and your donations to complete this work.
Fraternally, Fr. Juan María Solana, L.C.
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